There have been quite a few 2/2's for one mana
in Magic's history, and every one had a
drawback. While this Bear is no Goblin Guide, I
have no doubt that it'll do its job fairly well,
especially for a blue aggro deck or for any deck
involving Lord of the Unreal. The "illusionary"
drawback is a problem, no question, but for a
cheap 2/2 whose only purpose is to come down
early and get in a few swings before it gets
outclassed, it's not really a big deal. By turn
four or five, it's only really going to be good
for chump blocking anyway, so if your opponent
spends a Stave Off or Titanic Growth to kill it,
they're probably getting less use out of their
targeted spell than they would have if they'd
used it normally.
I know it's been a little jarring for some of us
to see blue getting an aggro card, but I think
it's a lot more interesting in a lot of ways
than Yet Another Counterspell Variant, and less
likely to make people angry! It's a little hard
to see Phantasmal Bear's text as much of a
drawback - since when do decks that play
two-power one-mana creatures care when they go
to the graveyard? Sure, you don't have the
direct damage finish that traditional "Sligh"
decks have used (unless you play with Time
Spiral block). Will Mana Leak and bounce spells
make up for it? Time will tell, but I wouldn't
be too surprised if they gave it a fighting
chance at least.
Today's card of the day is Phantasmal Bear
which is a one mana Blue 2/2 that is sacrificed
if it becomes the target of a spell or ability.
For the low cost this is one of the most
aggressive options Blue has to offer and is a
great first turn play. Even if it gets
targeted for removal it is a one for one trade
and Lord of the Unreal is available to remove
that weakness. Overall it is a very nice
card for the cost and likely to be played in
decks looking for an early offense and possibly
the full illusion group from the set.
In Limited one mana creatures are generally
useful and a 2/2 for that price is an automatic
inclusion whenever possible. The sacrifice
effect is a minor concern as most options would
destroy it anyway. In Sealed every Blue
deck should run all available copies for the
early game presence they offer and it makes a
solid early pick in Booster as well.